Panel degradation refers to the gradual decline in the performance of the solar panel that occurs as they are used, typically around 30-35 years, and even after that. Like other types of equipment, solar panels do not maintain 100% efficiency throughout their entire operational period. Instead, they experience a reduction in power output over time. This process is commonly referred to as panel degradation.
This reduction in performance can vary based on factors such as the brand and quality of the panels. Panels with lower degradation rates tend to produce more energy over their lifespan, making them more desirable. It’s important to note that the production warranties offered by manufacturers typically account for this degradation, acknowledging that the panels will generate less power as they age.
What are the Factors Causing Panel Degradation?
Panel degradation is primarily caused by external factors like overheating panels and excessive temperature exposure. This gradually diminishes the panels’ power generation capabilities. Due to this panels produce less electricity from the same amount of sunlight.
Environmental conditions play a significant role in solar panel degradation. Moist heat, humidity freeze, and ultraviolet (UV) exposure are key factors contributing to the normal degradation process, all driven by natural causes. Prolonged exposure to high humidity and elevated temperatures, known as damp heat, can gradually degrade the insulating materials within the solar cells. Humidity freeze can impact the adhesion of the junction box, potentially leading to performance issues.
One common cause of degradation is the occurrence of micro-cracks in the silicon of the solar cells. These tiny fractures weaken the electrical connections within the panels, reducing the pathways available for electrons to travel. As a result, less energy reaches the inverter, which ultimately powers homes, businesses, or farms.
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